You've seen the trailers, played a limited-time demo, and waited two decades for its release - but 2019's zombie apocalypse is almost here. Capcom will launch its highly-anticipated Resident Evil 2 remake in just two days, on Friday 25 January.
And let me tell you: it's bloody (in all senses) brilliant. That's coming from a Resi 2 first-timer, too. Yep, I never played the 1998 classic. I tended to pass on horror games growing up, and simply haven't got round to it since then. I think my first Resident Evil experience was actually on the Wii (sorry).
Mind you, a lack of previous undead action has its advantages. It meant I was going into this remake blind. Nods to the original, or seeing how much the game had developed over the years, ain't gonna win me over. The complete 4K remake had to stand on its own terms, as a modern release...
And yeah, it rather aced it.
'Resident Evil 2' reviews are in. Credit: Capcom
Resident Evil 2 is the perfect mix of stealth, combat, puzzle-solving and conventional (i.e. terrifying) survival. It has its quiet moments, but it also thrives off intense encounters. And not once do you feel safe in its many close-quarter yet seemingly ever-expanding areas. Not once.
As with most horror games, split-second decision making and stocking the correct inventory are two sides of the same coin. But Resident Evil 2 forces you to be extra tactical. It forces you to learn from your mistakes. Because, let's face it, you're going to die, or miss something absolutely crucial to your progression on a first-time-through.
But this isn't a full review. I just want you to know how damn good this is. Capcom has superbly re-imagined a 20-year-old game for today's market. And while returning players will undoubtedly appreciate Resident Evil 2 more than others, I can't stress enough that newbies will enjoy it like any standalone launch. Just make sure you have a spare pair of pants to hand.
Resident Evil 2 is the best game of 2019 so far, then. But could it be the best game of this year? Reactions to the remake have come in thick and fast over the past 24 hours. And for comparison's sake, they're mostly at same standard as 2018's Red Dead Redemption 2 and God of War reviews. So: that's quite the high bar set for, basically, Everything Else.
If you need further convincing, here's a few notable outlets sharing their opinions (shout out to Kotaku for being slightly against the grain here - no game is ever going to be for everyone):
IGN - 9/10
"Now THIS is how you remake a classic. Resident Evil 2 expertly reanimates the horrifying atmosphere and moments of extreme tension that made the original so revered."
GameSpot - 9/10
"Resident Evil 2 is not only a stellar remake of the original, but it's also simply a strong horror game that delivers anxiety-inducing and grotesque situations, topping some of the series' finest entries."
PC Gamer - 89/100
"A game that is comfortably among the best in the series, and a thrilling survival horror experience in its own right. It's not as surprising as RE7, but as an evolution, and a celebration, of vintage Resident Evil, you couldn't ask for much more.
Eurogamer - Recommended
"Though this Resident Evil 2 is a beautiful and at times incredibly modern-feeling game, beneath its new and impeccably polished trappings you can still feel the beating heart of the classic and increasingly aged framework it's built on."
"It is an exciting and astounding experience, but it feels compromised. Pushes towards modernization through changes to the camera and controls lessen the sense of dread of the original, and the presentation suffers without returning actors to tie it into the larger franchise."
The Guardian - 5/5
"Resident Evil 2 is the best game in Capcom's long-running survival horror series and possibly the greatest example of the genre ever produced."
Polygon - Recommended
"It's faithful in tone and story to its source material, while updating a classic in meaningful ways. It's exciting in the ways that Resident Evil used to be, when the games were driven not by explosive set-pieces, but a constant sensation of high tension."
"It's the perfect blend of nostalgia and the new, marrying a classic game with contemporary game design, and a prime candidate for those Game of the Year lists. In January! Capcom clearly has no chill."
GamesRadar+ - 4/5
"A beautifully made and reverent take on the original game that works both as a remake and a completely new game."
VideoGamer - 9/10
"Resident Evil 2 is an incredibly polished remake of one of video game's most celebrated titles. More importantly, it stands on its own two feet."
Could the 4K remake be GOTY? Credit: Capcom
What do you think about this news? Are you looking forward to the zombie rerelease? Does it look good so far? (What kind of questions is that? *Yes*, obvs.) What's your favourite Resident Evil game? Let us know.
Resident Evil 2 will launch on 25 January, 2019 for Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
Featured Image Credit: Capcom